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Marie-Thérèse de Soubiran (1834–1889)

Marie-Thérèse de Soubiran (1834–1889)

Founder of the Society of Mary Auxiliatrix . Born on May 16, 1834, at Castelnaudary (Aude), France; died on June 7, 1889, in Paris, France; beatified by Pius XII in 1946.

Born in 1834 into a family that included St. Elzéar de Sabran, the Franciscan tertiary, and Urban V, the sixth pope of Avignon, Marie-Thérèse de Soubiran also chose the religious life. At age 14, she took a vow of chastity, began to eat nothing but bread and water, and slept on a board. After spending some time in a convent in Ghent, Marie-Thérèse established her own congregation, which eventually came to be known as the Society of Mary Auxiliatrix. Receiving pontifical approbation in 1869, the order practiced perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

During the war of 1870, Marie-Thérèse took refuge in London. In her absence, one of her nuns supplanted her, and upon her return she was disowned by her own institution. She had a great deal of difficulty finding a convent that would accept her, but in 1874 was finally received at Notre Dame de Charité in Paris. She remained there for 15 years, relegated to small duties which she performed with resignation. "Oh! richness of the present moment, thou art infinite, since thou containest my God!," she proclaimed. "Why not love you? Why not enclose myself wholly in you." Marie-Thérèse de Soubiran died there on June 7, 1889, and was beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1946.


Englebert, Omer. The Lives of the Saints. Translated by Christopher and Anne Fremantle. London: Thames and Hudson, 1951.

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